Sunday, January 29, 2012

Everybody Loves Raymond

When I moved from the big city to Holmes County, Ohio, one of the first people I met was an Amish friend by the name of Raymond.  He welcomed us with open arms to the community and I discovered that he was almost 80 years old.  He is a "walking-talking-encyclopedia"of Holmes County and the Amish.  I learned so many things from Raymond.  Just as our parents and grandparents see us living a different way than they were raised, the Amish are in the same situation.  I learned that Raymond did not care for progress in the Amish community just like our grandparents.  One situation that could have been embarrassing has come to be one that I now laugh about . . .
It was Christmas and one thing that I learned was that unlike the outside world the Amish do not give extravagant Christmas gifts and they keep Christ in Christmas.  I wanted to take my dear friend a gift and while I didn't want something extravagant I didn't want to look cheap either.  I knew that Raymond liked chocolate so I went to Coblentz Chocolate Company, a local business, and bought a box of chocolates plus I put together a plate of homemade Christmas cookies.  When I went to wish my friend a Merry Christmas and give him my gift I had a surprising response!  I had a finger pointed at me, and a raised voice tell me to take those chocolates right back home.  I was told that they were terrible, horrible chocolates.  Although I was almost speechless I managed to say that I had given these chocolates to many people and where they came from and told him how good they were.  He let me know that, "I've never actually had one".  I asked why he thought that they were terrible and horrible.  He explained that the "Coblentz" name were the first Amish in the area to "jump the fence" and become Mennonite.  He told me that he would not eat a chocolate made by a "Coblentz" even though the current owner was not the original person that "jumped the fence".  He did accept my homemade cookies and we had a wonderful visit but I did have to take my chocolates back home.
I was not offended by Raymond's actions because I understood how true he was to his Amish beliefs and his faith.  This reminded me so much of how our generation is different from our elders.  Today we remain friends and I will always cherish the wonderful stories and education that I have received from Raymond.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

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